Thursday, January 18, 2007

Chrome Citizen Messenger Bag

Ever since the time I first saw a messenger bag, I thought it would be nice to try a great one out. Today I managed to get my hands on a Chrome Citizen messenger bag from Chrome Transport located here in San Francisco. The Citizen is a medium sized bag on a scale which includes small (Mini Metro), medium(Citizen), large (metropolis) and the huge Kremlin.

Mine is a right shouldered model, unlike most, and I put my old bag right into it for the ride home. I added the Chrome Ipod holder and the existing phone holder I had. Despite the medium size, it easily accomodated the old bag I had and all it's contents. I can see it's ample size handling cartons of milk, six packs of beer and loaves of bread, contents of soup recipes, along with some other more difficult projects like my 4x5 camera rig, or my Canon SLR digital setup.

The vertical orientation of the bag when riding will mean that certain cargo may be easier to carry, like a tripod, or snowboard. This totally defeats the racktop bags, like this one, or the one from the Banjo Brothers, which can't possibly manage the length of a tripod, much less a snowboard.
It has an outer shell with a full interior lining of waterproof material, which should mean you precious cargo will be dry when you arrive, unless you happen to fully submerge. The closure on the bag is broad velcro and clipped reflective straps.

I think it may be fair to say that I am more than a little enamored of the big metal seat buckle and hardware. The photo below shows the buckle and the pull ring which combine to provide one handed closing, opening, and adjustment. Pulling the ring loosens the strap -- while yanking on the end of the strap will tighten it -- so it's easy to adjust when riding. Also included in this foto are the Chrome IPod holder, which is quite secure, although provides no opportunity for operating easily while riding. Be sure not to miss the clip for securing the load to your body, which totally comes out the wrong side of the strap, proving itself complete impossible to easily operate.

Timbuk2's bag after being removed from the new bag is shown below for a size comparison.

Although the yellow color on the Chrome bag is bright, there could be more reflective material, but as one of my fellow riders said to me recently, "Visibility at night is really about lights, after that it's just a fashion statement." That large field of reflective material on the Timbuk2 bag leaves me feeling secure about being visible.

There are three pockets along the back here to organize the smaller items, one zippered and two open. These would all be under the back flap when closed. The reflective strapping is clearly visible in this flash shot.

Because of the criss cross pattern of the velcro in the rear closure, odd shaped items like this tripod are no sweat. Notice the verticle orientation of the tripod.

It's a good bag-- it's secure, tough, well built, and looks great -- I give it a peace sign for eco-friendly construction, and a thumbs up for being totally smart. It rocks. I hope for a long and happy life together.